The psychoanalytic process in the treatment of little Hans

Joseph S. Bierman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper studies the psychoanalytic process in the treatment of Little Hans, using Samuel Abrams's 1988 paper in which he defines the psychoanalytic process as the sequence of steps which appears within the mind of the patient as the treatment proceeds. As with the adult, the child can affectively recall or reenact the past in the transference, but the child also tries to promote whatever developmental phase is being clocked in. In January 1908 Max Graf Hans's father and a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society who was a musicologist, wrote Freud that his son had developed a fear that a horse would bite him in the street. Freud first suggested that the father give his son some enlightenment in the matter of sexual knowledge, such as his mother and other females have no "widdlers." The enlightenments only increased Hans's anxiety, prompting Freud to meet with Hans and his father and interpret the fear of the horse as fear of the father. While Max Graf was able to help Hans understand some dreams and fantasies, he exhibited a punitive attitude toward Hans's masturbation, which was reinforced by Freud's attitude that it was harmful. The father did not promote his son's development when he withheld knowledge of how babies are born, neither did Freud when he withheld any contrary suggestions from the father.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-110
Number of pages19
JournalPsychoanalytic Study of the Child
Volume62
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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